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From hitting the wall to carb-loading, we debunk running’s biggest myths


Jim Pate, CPEX Lab Manager at The Centre of Health & Human Performance (CHHP),

Professor Cathy Speed, Consultant in Rheumatology, Sport & Exercise Medicine at Progress – part of Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.

If you want to burn fat, run on an empty stomach…MYTH!

JP: It’s true that when humans are in a ‘starved’ state, their primary fuel source is fat at rest. But for fat-burning, exercising at lower intensity is what really works. The body makes use of fat, then as intensity is increased we begin to shift towards carbohydrate metabolism. Eventually, carbs become the dominant.fuel source. So really it is more like ‘if you want to burn fat, run slow’ – the problem being that low intensities of exercise have a low rate of energy consumption. That means you are going to need a long time to burn significant amounts of fat at low intensity. Ideally, you want to increase the rate of consumption which means you need to run faster/harder. By improving your running fitness and overall running performance, you will improve the speed at which your body can exercise while still burning fat and thereby improve the rate of fat consumption.

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About Men's Running

Ready to take your running off-road? Then make sure you pick up a copy of the October issue of Men’s Running – our trail special. If you’re a persistent pavement pounder, or are completely new to running altogether, our Beginner’s Guide to Trail will tell you all you need to know about picking the right kit, finding the right routes and tailoring your training for efficient running away from the asphalt and tarmac. We’ve also got exclusive reviews of the latest trail shoes, top-to-toe kit suggestions for every off-road scenario and the latest tech to keep you on track. If it’s inspiration you’re in need of, our lead feature – a stunning trail runner’s guide to the Jurassic Coast – will have you leaping over your nearest stile quicker than you can remember you’ve only just cleaned your trainers. And don’t worry, if trail really isn’t your thing, we’ve also got the usual training advice, race reports and nutrition know-how to help you run stronger than ever.